Yes, we writers are idealists; we constantly seek a better world. And with this issue, we’re applying that idealism to shopping. After another year of rugged 21st-century living, we’re all due for enhancements and upgrades. With that in mind, we each came up with four gifts we’d like to receive, from the most affordable to those in the “fat chance” realm. It’s just our way of making the world a better place, one gift at a time … at least for our motley crew ... and maybe even for yours.
|The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire by Matt Taibbi
Taibbi’s sardonic wit shines as he goes undercover as an evangelical Christian and 9/11 Truth Movement member. I’m smiling just thinking about reading this.
King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 484-9100 KingsEnglish.com
“Peach Leaf Willow” Membership
Help plant 10 seedlings on the Jordan River and make an investment in our local environment.
Tree Utah, 740 S. 300 West, 364-2122. TreeUtah.org
A year of free movies and supporting independent cinema. Could a gift be any better?
Salt Lake Film Society, 111 E. 300 South, 746-0288 SaltLakeFilmSociety.org
Winterstick 183cm Swallowtail Snowboard
With more than 500 inches of snow each year, a powder board fits in any serious snowboarder’s quiver.
Salty Peaks, 3055 E. 3300 South, 467-8000 SaltyPeaks.com
|Convertible Winter Roost/Nest Box
In the winter, it gives birds a place to stay warm, if they couldn’t manage a trip to Mexico. Then, in the spring, when the poor, shivery waifs become amorous little devils, the box converts, too: You adjust a couple screws, flip a plate around, and it becomes a place to build a nest.
Wild Bird Center, 4898 Highland Dr., 277-4544
Cold-Cast Bronze Bacchus
Every drunken pagan needs a Bacchus shrine.
Spellbound, 1433 S. 1100 East, 521-5605
|5-Pound “Ultimate Assortment”
I don’t obsess about chocolate the way some people seem to, but I do enjoy it. And, these days, it seems like lots of things are being marketed as “chocolate” that bear little resemblance to the delicacies of yore. The cheap stuff is waxy and artificial, and a lot of the expensive chocolate—marketed as a kind of designer health food, I think—is about as much fun as a colonic irrigation. C. Kay Cummings makes its wares the way the chocolate gods intended. Five pounds is a communal supply that, in my household, might last till New Year’s.
C. Kay Cummings, 2057 E. 3300 South, 485-1031
26-String Folk Harp, “Ravena” Model, Dusty Strings
I don’t play the harp, but I enjoy learning to make noise on different folky instruments. This one’s beautiful, with such a nice, mellow tone, the neighbors are sure to like it a bit better than my screechy fiddle or wheezy accordion. Oh, and it’s not one of those big, girly harps—this is a man-harp. Levers on only the C and F strings means it’s not fully chromatic—which is not necessarily a drawback if, like me, you enjoy weird, archaic, modal scales.
Acoustic Music, 857 E. 400 South, 531-7066
|“Magnificent Magna” T-Shirt
It’s about time Magna was recognized as a destination resort. I’m not sure when they grew palm trees or could actually see the sunset out there, but it’s still a smart shirt.
8Apparel.com, various locations from Logan to Provo
10 Boutique Custom-Painted Sneakers
Nothing moves from the boardroom to the ballroom like a pair of custom-painted Adidas accentuating your business-formal track suit.
10 Sneaker Shop, 870 E. 900 South, 801-532-3997, MySpace.com/10SLC
|Canon Powershot A590 Digital Camera
Because my cell-phone camera doesn’t look very official when I’m “on assignment.”
Pictureline, 305 W. 700 South, 801-364-1200, Pictureline.com
Cannondale Cyclocross 6 Road Bike
The only reason I’d get on a bike in the wintertime would be if said bike cost more than all others I’d ever owned combined. Must be Patriot Blue, too.
Biker’s Edge, 232 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-544-5300, BEBikes.com
2 Quiches, 2 Lemon Bars, 2 Coffees
|Two 20-Class Yoga Punch Cards
During times of economic crisis, sacrifices must be made. So I’ll cook all my meals, walk to work, conserve energy, and rely on a trusty, 10-year-old V-neck sweater to get me through the winter. When it comes to my spiritual, physical and mental well being, nothing compares to a good Power 1 & 2 yoga class—especially when Dana Baptiste is teaching. She helps keep my thoughts trained on the present so I can better deal with the future, no matter how fiscally bleak.
Centered City Yoga, 918 E. 900 South, 801-521-9642, and two other locations, CenteredCityYoga.com
Kishu Dining Table and Chairs
$850 plus $170 per chair
Bless my friend Laura for surprising me on my birthday last year with an IKEA table and two chairs so my boyfriend and I could stop eating off our ironing board, but it’s time to grow up. CG Sparks’ Kishu line of tables and chairs are sturdy, attractive and perfect for entertaining. You hear that, friends? Those days of dragging living-room furniture into the kitchen are over.
CG Sparks, 454 S. 500 West, 801-519-6900, CGSparks.com
To add a little snap to any outfit.
Decades, 627 S. State, 537-1357
Delightfully social birds, you get the same love as you do from a cockatoo without the financial outlay
Incredible Pets, 8695 S. Highland, Sandy, 947-1234
|Patagonia Deep Wading Jacket
I’ve started getting into some serious fishing and am tired of catching colds.
Western Rivers Flyfisher, 1071 E. 900 South, 521-6424
Stevens 512 12-gauge shotgtun
For wanna-be bird hunters who yearn to pump the sky full of lead and then spit it out at the dinner table.
7045 S. State #9, 562-2486, HeritageArms.net
|Barack Obama jute wine bag
The fashion statement for ’09. Made of eco-friendly jute and lined with recycled soda six-pack rings, this creation of Utah bagmaker JM Alexander may be difficult to find post-election. I guess a non-Obama version (available at many independent grocers) would do.
Emigration Market, 1706 E. 1300 South, 581-0138
Finger Puppet Menagerie
Felt finger puppets, one for each finger, for annual holiday show.
Frosty Darling, 177 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 532-4790
|Case of Rendezvous Rye
It will be a very merry Christmas this year well stocked with High West Distillery’s signature mash from Park City. Only problem is I don’t know if I can stand to dilute any with eggnog.
Utah Liquor Stores
Team Farm Dining Table
Made of reclaimed wood, it’s the no-guilt way to beautiful dining.
C. G. Sparks, 454 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 519-6900
|One Gram of Spanish saffron
Life is too short to go without making homemade paella at least once. And for the authentic Spanish peasant fare rich with shellfish, chicken and rabbit, you need real stigmas from the saffron crocus flower. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, and worth every penny.
Liberty Heights Fresh, 1290 S. 11 East, 58-FRESH
Two Skeins of Stainless-Steel Art Yarn
$56 ($28 each)
An intermediate to advanced knitter would love the stainless-steel fibers of this lovely Japanese art yarn. Perfect for knitting a gorgeous, unstructured scarf that actually bends and can be shaped at the neck.
Blazing Needles,1365 S. 1100 East, 487-5648, Blazing-Needles.com
|Multi-Strand Sterling Silver Bracelet
$450 retail; $360 online
Strands of silver, one laid on top of the other, look like a flowing stream on the wrist. The laid-back staff that works for store owner Bill Bennion recommend this bracelet for going from the office to the opera. It’s just that perfect.
Bennion Jewelers, 107 S. Main St., 364-3667, BennionJewelers.com
1936 vintage DecoSlipshade Light Fixture
A five-shaded chandelier made of delicate glass and original brass. It’s the real thing. Picture it hanging from the ceiling in some cozy nook.
Retrospect Water & Light, 68 E. 700 South, 517-3876
|Stephen Colbert I Am America (And So Can You!) 2009 Desk Calendar
For all those days when the outrage of the punditocracy needs to be taken down a notch.
Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main, 328-2586, SamWellers.com
I actually got the kitchen gadget I mentioned here last year—so it doesn’t hurt to keep trying.
Spoons and Spice, 788 E. 9400 South #32, 553-1988, SpoonsAndSpice.com
Sony Blu-Ray Player
I suspect that by the end of 2009, it’s going to turn out to be a professional necessity, so I might as well get started.
R.C. Willey, 861 E. 6600 South, 888-584-5156, and various other locations, RCWilley.com
|Art by Zane Lancaster
I’ve fallen hard for his darkly satirical, Bill Plympton-esque illustrations about contemporary society.
“A” Gallery, 1321 S. 2100 East, 583-4800, AGalleryOnline.com
|Castle-to-Castle, By Louis-Ferdinand Celine
1970 National Book Award translation by Ralph Manheim, 1st American Edition. Celine’s blackest novel ever. Desperate, squalid Nazi collaborators stuck in an underground labyrinth, debasing their humanity and going mad at the end of World War II. Easy-going bedtime reading.
Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main, 328-2586
Onyx Chess Set
An exquisitely hand-carved set from Karachi, Pakistan, for display or play. And not sweatshop-direct, either! Artisan crafted and fair traded.
Ten Thousand Villages, 1945 S. 1100 East, 485-8827
|A Box of Cao Maduro Gold, Churchill Cigars
Nothing beats a nice mild-bodied Maduro. The Cao Gold is exceptional for days when you need to take an hour and feel like a big shot.
Jeanie’s Smoke Shop, 156 S. State, 322-2817
Antique Japanese Dresser
Stunning black with lacquer finish and inlaid mother of pearl, this dresser is perfect for storing my precious jewelry and sacks of money. Or my pants and stuff, I guess.
Litvin Gallery Antiques, 169 E. Broadway, 328-4004
|100 Percent Organic Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm
Because what could be better than gourmet lip balm?
Bubble and Bee Organic, 90 W. 500 South #513, Bountiful, 801-560-7899, BubbleandBee.com
A beautiful reminder of those rolling fields of lavender in Provence. Hey, at least my place can smell like the south of France.
Trifecta Designs, 409 N. 300 West, 364-4606, TFADesign.com
|64-Bottle Display Top Wine Rack
A beautiful, redwood-stained, knot-free lumber wine rack with wood-and-Plexiglas display shelves. Displays eight bottles label-up for quick identification, even when sozzled.
Wine Racks America, 360 N. 700 West Ste. F, North Salt Lake, 801-936-5200, WineRacksAmerica.com
New Year’s Eve in a Presidential Suite at Grand America
$5,000 plus tax
Murano hand-blown glass chandeliers, Tiffany and Baccarat crystal, 50-inch plasma monitors, Ermenegildo Zegna bath amenities, two master baths–’cause I want to party like it’s 2009.
Grand America, 555 S. Main, 258-6000, GrandAmerica.com
|Calendar of Utah Geology 2009
Since we toil endlessly amidst urban crumble and decay and seldom find ourselves combing the wilds of Utah, I’ll just take comfort in perusing the 45 photos of geologic vistas snapped by Utah Geological Survey scientists. Each month, I can feast my eyes upon ancient volcanoes, bizarre rockscapes, dinosaurs, geobotany, arches and the Colorado Plateau, all while keeping track of my Botox appointments.
Natural Resources Map & Bookstore, 1594 W. North Temple, 537-3320, Geology.Utah.gov
8 oz. Pony Hair Mini Cocktail Shaker
James Bond demands his martini be shaken and so do I! In fact, let’s shake together, Daniel Craig! Your choice of zebra with green or leopard with orange. Mrrrow.
Got Beauty, 904 E. 2100 South, 474-2090, GotBeauty.com
|Rosanna Christmas Dessert Plates
I don’t have room in my cupboards, so it means that something more useful and practical will have to go. These quirky 12 Days of Christmas plates are too cute! As is everything else in this shop.
Kaleidoscope Eclectic Boutique & Gallery, The Riverwoods, 4801 N. University Ave. #350, Provo, 801-225 1352
Custom Claddagh Ring
I’ve always loved the Irish friendship ring and would especially like one that’s inlaid with my birthstone (the peridot). Plus, I’m partial to gold. Claddagh rings are sometimes handed down mother to daughter and also are popular as wedding rings. But really, why wait for someone’s beneficence? Just order one to your specifications and be your own best friend.
Jonathan’s Jewelery, 6910 S. Highland Drive Suite 5, 943-0303, JonathansJewelry.com
Fri., Aug. 29, 7-9:30 p.m. / Price: $10.00 for one session, $15.00 for both sessions, $35.00 per family one session, $50.00 per family both sessions. (Group and Corporate discounts are available - just email email@example.com for more info.)